Bike Calgary's Infrastructure Task Force has been working with Ride the City to roll out a version of their bike routing service for Calgary. Originally servicing NYC, Ride the City is now offered in over 3 dozen cities worldwide. It has some unique features that make it a useful alternative to other services.
- It does bicycle-specific routing/directions, and, most importantly, you can select the route based on safety (three settings: direct, safe, safer)
- It lets you save routes and points of interest.
- It has widgets for businesses to add cycling directions to their store, and displays bike shops on the map
- You can easily email routes
- It has apps for both iPhone and Android (cost: USD 2.00)
- Ride the City uses Open Street Map (OSM), the wikipedia of the mapping world: it is freely available, and anyone can edit it.
Ride the City Calgary is now officially available for use. There are still places where it could improve, of course. To make Ride the City work better in Calgary, we're asking for your help. It's easy and you can do it from the comfort of your own home.
With the exception of a few outlying communities, both street and pathway network are substantially complete in OSM Calgary, but there are still many missing links: places where a pathway crosses a street, for instance, but doesn't intersect it; pedestrian overpasses that are important links in the cycling network, but some aren't designated as "cycling allowed"; missing short pathway or sidewalk segments that link important routes. Also, streets that the City designates as a bike route (displayed in blue in the City's Pathways and Bikeways map) should be tagged as "designated for cycling". In some neighborhoods, not all streets have names, and some new developments have yet to be added to OSM.
- Go to ridethecity.com/calgary and try it out on areas and routes you know well. Does it get them right?
- If not, perhaps OSM is missing a critical piece of information. Inspect the map in RtC to see if there are links missing. If there are, add them. Sometimes, the links are there, but OSM knows them only as footpaths--you can edit them in OSM as well so that RtC knows that cycling is allowed there.
- Compare the RtC map with the City's bikeway map in your area, and tag those streets that are designated bikeways in OSM. These should be tagged as "bicycle: designated".
- Cycling is allowed on most of Calgary's pathways, so pathways should be tagged as "bicycle: allowed". On most sidewalks, cycling isn't allowed, but if a short piece of sidewalk is an important connection or convenient shortcut, you can tag it as "bicycle: dismount".
- Follow a route/pathway you know well and add any connections between the path and side streets that are missing.
- Adding any other missing information to the map will make Ride the City more useful as well. Street names, alleyways, buildings, parks, amenities like bike parking, can all be added or edited in OSM and will show up on the Ride the City map.
- If you know speed limits on streets around you, that will help the routing alogrithm as well: it's 50 km/h by default (street with no specified speed limit), a street tagged as 40 km/h will rank as safer, and a street that is tagged with a speed limit of 50 km/h or higher will be ranked as less safe.
- It will also help if Ride the City knows whether a pathway is paved or unpaved.
- If that is all too much hassle, just post here: At the top right, under "route options", select "copy to email." Then post that and where you think it went wrong/where it should have routed you.
- You can also email your suggestions, observations, and complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are two short videos that explain how to edit OSM for these purposes: